Hello to all and welcome back! Today I am hosting a new author and a new book; “The Bennet’s; Providence and perception” written by KC Cowan.
Either ignored or ridiculed by her family, Mary Bennet desires only happiness—
Poor Miss Bennet—with three sisters married, she will no doubt be left “on the shelf” unless she takes steps to secure her own happiness. So, with the arrival of Mr. Yarby, a handsome new rector for Longbourn chapel, Mary decides to use her Biblical knowledge to win his heart.
Meanwhile, her recently widowed father finds himself falling for the older sister of his new reverend. But Mr. Bennet is officially in mourning for his late wife—what a scandalous situation! Unfortunately, Longbourn’s heir, Mr. Collins, has the antennae for a scandal and makes blackmail threats.
Will an overheard conversation between the Yarby siblings break Mary’s heart? Or will it impel her to a desperate act that threatens everyone’s hopes for lasting love?
Mr. Collins was in a foul mood. Months of living with his in-laws had brought him to the sad conclusion that the optimism with which he had entered into his current arrangement as only a short break before moving to his next parish was not to be realized. He took a long walk across the fields one afternoon to think about how he might improve his situation.
Charlotte enjoys time with her parents and siblings, and I know it is a comfort to be near them while she awaits the birth of our child, although I have seen how she and her mother often huddle together for whispered conversations that always stop when I enter the room. No doubt, the two are complaining about my inability to secure a new location. I am doing my best, after all! Does she think I am happy with the way things are? I have no space of my own! I cannot share Sir William’s library. Our own bedchamber is quite small, and every other room in the house seems to be filled with people at all times!
Adding to his unhappy disposition, was a recent letter from Mr. Darcy informing Mr. Collins that, sadly, there were no livings available in Derbyshire and, further, that Mr. Darcy knew of no other potential positions.
“I wish you all the best, and be assured I shall certainly put your name forward should any suitable position come to my attention,” Darcy had written. All the proper words, but Mr. Collins could perceive no real offer of help in them.
Although he had no evidence, Mr. Collins was persuaded that Mr. Darcy’s inability to help was due to the influence of Lady Catherine. Could she have instructed her nephew not to assist him? He had had such hopes of help from Pemberley. Mrs. Darcy was his wife’s dearest friend, after all. Why had she not been able to do more?
“Bosh!” he exclaimed, abruptly striking a bush hard with his cane, causing the leaves to fly off. “She has poisoned his mind and heart against me, no doubt. What am I to do? What kind of a man cannot support his own family? Oh, the humiliation!”
He stood, fuming for a moment, and was about to turn back towards Lucas Lodge when he spied a couple crossing a nearby field. He squinted, trying to discern their identities. A man and a woman, that much was clear. And they were heading his way. For some reason, Mr. Collins felt an impulse to hide himself in a grove of trees off the main path. From there, he observed the couple strolling together, and snatches of a clearly comfortable conversation and laughter floated on the wind towards him. Still, he could not identify them.
The two reached the end of the field at the stile, and the gentleman—for it seemed apparent that it was a gentleman, Mr. Collins thought—gave his hand to assist the lady up and over the fence. The man then followed, jumping down beside her, laughing when he nearly lost his balance. Mr. Collins heard the lady join in with the merriment. Then the gentleman held his arm out, and she took it, but they did not continue walking at first. Mr. Collins’s mouth fell open as he watched the gentleman reach over to remove a bit of leaf from the lady’s bonnet near her face. He showed it to her, and she laughed again and took his hand, pressing it to her cheek.
The two turned towards the still-hidden Mr. Collins, and he gasped as their identities became clear to him.
Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Withers! Such intimate behavior between them. And him still in full mourning. Shocking! Well, well, well.
He continued to stay hidden as the couple walked up the path towards Longbourn, their hands just brushing each other as they strolled. When they were gone, he left the grove of trees, a small smile of satisfaction upon his face.
This might well be the answer to my securing a new position.
KC Cowan spent her professional life working in the media as a news reporter in Portland, Oregon for KGW-TV, KPAM-AM and KXL-AM radio, and as original host and story producer for a weekly arts program on Oregon Public Television. She is co-author of the fantasy series: Journey to Wizards’ Keep, The Hunt for Winter, and Everfire. The Hunt for Winter and Everfire were both awarded First Place OZMA citations from Chanticleer International Book Awards for fantasy writing.
KC is also the author of two other books: “The Riches of a City” – the story of Portland, Oregon, and “They Ain’t Called Saints for Nothing!” in collaboration with artist Chris Haberman, a tongue-in-cheek look at saints. She is married and lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Hello to all, personally I think this books sounds hilarious and still I feel so for Mary! To be left on ones own, and more or less ignored. I hope with reading further in the book, I will see a happy ending for Mary, and also to see just how devious Mr Collins can be… 😀 The idea that Mr Bennet will also fall in love sounds both incredible and a bit weird, but I can’t wait to see where this leads, my hope; a HEA!
Onwards to the GIVEAWAY!
Meryton Press will be giving away one eBook for each stop on the Blog Tour, for a total of six eBooks. Please leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. I will be drawing a winner from the comments, and let the author know, who will contact the winner and send the book along. There is both the mobi or ePub versions of this book available in the giveaway. Good luck all! I will draw a winner on the 30th of this month.
That was it, dear readers! Please check back in soon! I will be hosting a lot of authors and their books in the upcoming weeks, including Don Jacobson and his new book.
Hello to all, and welcome back to my desk and this weeks visit by a much beloved authoress and friend, Riana Everly! She has written another mystery where Miss Mary investigates alongside of her partner Alexander. This time around, it is Sense and Sensibility which is visited by a mystery. But now I will leave you in Riana’s capable hands. I will close off the visit at the end. For now, welcome Riana and her next book.
Thank you so much to Sophia for welcoming me once again to your wonderful blog. It’s always such a comfortable and friendly spot to visit, like sitting down to tea with a friend.
I’m most delighted to talk a bit about my newest mystery in the Miss Mary Investigates series, Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery. In this adventure, Mary Bennet meets and befriends Elinor Dashwood, whom we know from the pages of Sense and Sensibility. Both are in London for a while—Mary is staying with the Gardiners, and Elinor and her sister are staying with Mrs Jennings, a family friend. Mary becomes a frequent visitor at Mrs Jennings’ house and meets all of Elinor’s acquaintances. But then, to everyone’s horror, Robert Ferrars is killed, and his brother Edward is a suspect. When Mary’s friend Alexander Lyons is called in to investigate, Mary is pulled along into the mystery.
I had a lot of fun writing this book. It is partly based on some case law around inheritance issues, which was fascinating to dive into. It also takes place in London, which is one of my favourite places to visit. No matter how often I visit, I’m always amazed by the city, with its amazing wealth of history and its intriguing juxtaposition of the very old and the very new. On a visit last December, we stood by the 2000-year-old Roman wall, next to the 1000-year-old Tower of London, looking at the Shard, a modern skyscraper across the river, that is all of 10 years old.
One of my goals on that too-short and rather last-minute trip, was to find Alexander’s office. I had something in mind, something rather specific, and was determined to find the closest thing possible.
The building had to be very near Covent Garden, that storied area with the huge marketplace dating back centuries, where the glittering theatres and opera houses stood, and still stand, where the haut ton came in silks and diamonds to enjoy the latest theatrical entertainment. But this was also the Covent Garden that was on the edge of one of the most dangerous slums of the time, where just outside of the marquee glow, prostitutes stood in dark alleyways, where cutthroats stood lurking, where policemen wouldn’t go in groups fewer than four until near the end of the 19th century.
Alexander’s office isn’t quite in this pit of human despair. Like the man himself, his location straddles two worlds, so near the elegant world of the first circles and their theatre boxes, but definitely apart from it. Precariously close to the hell of Seven Dials, but not succumbing, on the edge of danger but not dangerous.
The alleyway also had to be close to the Bow Street Magistrate’s Court, where the Bow Street Runners were born. This gave us a direction. Since Seven Dials is now a rather trendy area, festooned with lights and garlands, and home to upscale shops and chic restaurants. it was safe for me and my daughter to wander around. We started at Covent Garden, headed towards Bow Street by the Royal Opera House, and turned left.
You can imagine my delight when, just a few steps away, down Long Acre, I found exactly what I was looking for. Arne Street, barely deserving of the title, wide enough for a single car if the driver holds his breath. There stands an old building with a narrow doorway leading inside, up to whatever rooms and offices lie within. And, like Alexander’s unnamed street, it even has a bakery at the corner. This bakery is really a coffee shop, part of a large chain, but if it sells baked goods, it counts in my books.
I can just picture Alexander working away at his reports in his rooms up those stairs. I can picture Mary, being exactly where she’s not supposed to be, stepping beyond the safety of the popular market square and daring to do something just a little bit dangerous as she follows him, stepping out of her world, and maybe, towards her future.
A Jane Austen-inspired mystery, set in the world of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, being the fourth novel in the Miss Mary Investigates series.
When Mary Bennet befriends Elinor Dashwood, she expects to become part of the young lady’s circle and be introduced to her friends and relations. She does not expect that one of this circle should die, far too young, and in most unfortunate circumstances. Worse, Elinor is secretly in love with one of the suspects, Edward Ferrars, and he is inconveniently engaged to somebody else. When an investigator is called in to assist, Mary is more surprised still.
Alexander Lyons expects to find death and deceit in his line of work, but he does not expect to come face to face with Mary, who hasn’t replied to his letters of late. What is she doing in London? And how is she involved with this sorry business of murder? Still, despite the tension between the two, they make a good team as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding them.
From the elegant drawing rooms of Mayfair to the reeking slums of St. Giles, the two must use every bit of wit and logic they possess to uncover a killer, all the while, trying to puzzle out the workings of their own hearts.
Join Mary Bennet, Lizzy’s often overlooked sister from Pride and Prejudice, and her intriguing and handsome friend Alexander Lyons, as they are pulled into the world of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in this, their latest adventure.
Here is an excerpt from Death in Sensible Circumstances.
Soon Alexander and Mary were walking back towards his offices. “It is getting dark soon. Your aunt and uncle will be worried about you.” He put his hand over hers where it rested upon his arm.
“They believe me to be with Elinor.” How unlike her this was, deceiving her aunt, running about the city like a hoyden. How she loved it!
Alexander’s expression was not entirely approving.
“Oh, she believes me with my aunt and uncle. And if Marianne should talk, well, the damage will already be done.”
“I see. And what do you propose to do until you return safely to Gracechurch Street?”
“Why, help you with the investigation, of course! What are we to do next? And we must dine. I have a small amount of money that should see us to some respectable food.”
Did Alexander roll his eyes at her? Ah, it was no better than she deserved! She, who had sermonised over the delicate nature of a woman’s reputation, she who had castigated her sisters on their shameful behaviour around men, was now enjoying an evening in the vastness of London, quite unchaperoned, with the one man who made her heart beat faster. She ought to be horrified at her own actions, and yet she was not. This sort of freedom was a little frightening, but it was also too exhilarating. She giggled at the impossibility of it all and followed him down the lane to wherever it was he was leading her.
“Here is the bakery where I often get my meals.” He gestured to a small establishment at an unprepossessing corner. Any other day she would have walked past it without a thought, but now her feet slowed. The aromas emanating from within were enticing, and whilst she was certain that anything purchased there would not match Mr. Darcy’s table in elegance, she was equally certain that the food would be quite tasty.
They made their selections to take for their meal: a chicken tart for Mary and a vegetable tart for Alexander. Next door they purchased a jug of lemonade, and a few doors further along, some cherries for pudding. The lot they carried with them up a narrow staircase to the space Alexander informed her was his office.
As Alexander placed their purchases on his large desk, Mary stared around the room. So this was where he did his work!
“Ach, you never have been here before! I had not realised it. Welcome, Mary.”
He walked around the desk, which took up most of the space, and threw open the window. The sounds and smells of London wafted in, but the air was cooler than that inside, and she welcomed it. He then found a cloth and some plates in a drawer in the corner, which he used to set the desk to form a table upon which to dine.
“I usually eat in my rooms upstairs,” he pointed upward with his eyes, “but even I cannot see myself to inviting a lady there alone.”
Riana Everly is an award-winning author of romance, both contemporary and historical, and historical mysteries.
Born in South Africa, she moved to Canada as a child, bringing with her two parents, two younger sisters, and too many books. Yes, they were mysteries. From those early days of The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, she graduated to Nancy Drew, and then to the Grande Dames of classical English whodunnits, including Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh. Others followed, and many sleepless nights ensued.
When not matching wits with Miss Marple and Adam Dalgliesh, Riana keeps busy researching those little, but so-important, details for her next fabulous novel.
Trained as a classical musician, Riana has degrees in Music History and Medieval Studies, and enjoys photography, hiking, travelling, learning obscure languages, and experimenting with new recipes. If they include chocolate, all the better.
Her Miss Mary Investigates series has charmed both Jane Austen fans and serious mystery lovers alike, and readers are always asking when the next story will be available.
Last but not least, there is a GIVEAWAY chance! So leave a comment to get a chance to win a copy of “Death in Sensible Circumstances” Riana will choose a random winner from the comments which will be left here, five days after the blog visit.
I am delighted to be giving away one eBook of Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery at each blog I visit. I will randomly select one person who comments as a winner. I’ll make the draw five days after the date of the blog visit. I will email the book directly to the winners, so please check back on the site, or make sure I have a way to contact you.
Well everyone, that was it for this time around, I hope Riana had you entertained and the book sounds like something for you, I wish you luck in the giveaway.
Riana, I am always so pleased to host you, and especially because of the kindness of your visits, it does indeed feel like sitting down with a friend and discussing books. Can’t wait to host you again soon. Cheers to all!
Hello to all, and welcome back to my desk, this time around, I am lucky enough to host a good friend and a returning authoress, namely Christine Combe. I am so glad to be able to reveal the wonderful cover to Christine’s new book! Another P&P variation, which promises to be yet another lovely book. For now, I leave you all in the creative hands of Christine Combe.
Hello everyone! I am so very excited to be returning to Interests of a Jane Austen Girl to talk about my latest Austen variation, Why I Kissed You! This is the fastest turnaround I’ve had going from one book to another—I just released Three Brides for Three Cousins on December 11th, which was only ten weeks ago. I began writing this new book a week after Three Brides was released, and I had it finished in the first week of February!
I have never written a book so fast before, but the words just kept flowing. I had a few struggles, but when I would write, I was getting out a chapter or more per day, which is incredible! Why I Kissed You is also the shortest novel I’ve written at just over 80,000 words (I typically go over 100K!). I suppose I could have written a few more chapters, but honestly… it just felt right to end it where I did.
And now onto the cover reveal!
Isn’t it lovely? The portrait is of Caroline Bonaparte Murat Macdonald, Napoleon Bonaparte’s youngest sister. She went from being an Imperial princess of France to Queen of Naples after she married her first husband, Joachim Murat, who became King of Naples in 1808. In my research into this stunning piece of artwork, I could not find the name of the artist, but I did discover that she is the great-great-great-grandmother of the late actor René Auberjonois (known for his roles in TV shows like Benson, Boston Legal, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
Now to tell you a little something about Why I Kissed You:
Although she vehemently refuses the marriage proposal of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet soon learns that an unexplainable moment of passion that occurred between them has led a furious Lady Catherine de Bourgh to demand she be thrown out of Mr. Collins’ house!
Fitzwilliam Darcy, although his pride was wounded by Elizabeth’s rejection, finds he cannot allow her to be harmed by his aunt’s fanciful ambition for a marriage between him and her daughter. Fearing further action may be taken to damage Elizabeth’s reputation, he knows that marriage is the only form of protection he can offer her.
Elizabeth and Darcy travel to London to begin the arrangements for a wedding that for all intents and purposes shouldn’t be taking place. In the midst of shopping for wedding clothes, sharing the news with family, and meeting Darcy’s noble relatives, Elizabeth is coming to learn more about who Darcy really is than she ever knew before. At the same time, Darcy is navigating the intricacies of realizing how wrong it is to interfere in the lives of others and how to deserve forgiveness from a friend.
Though they act quickly to begin a new life together where one person is in love and the other now unsure of their feelings, Elizabeth and Darcy can’t stop one final attempt to keep them apart forever. But faith and love—and a little bit of luck—will play their part in determining whether there is a chance to pursue the happily ever after that both of them desperately want.
I do hope that blurb intrigues you! Now to further reel you in, here is the first part of chapter one:
Thursday, 16 April 1812
Who would have thought that an offer of marriage, followed by an unexpectedly vehement refusal, would lead to a kiss?
Certainly not Fitzwilliam Darcy, a gentleman who had long prided himself on his irreproachable character and excellent self-control.
But it did. He had asked Elizabeth Bennet to marry him, and she had rejected him. They’d argued over why. And then—when he intended only to bid her as polite a farewell as he could muster—the two found themselves suddenly and inexplicably locked in a passionate embrace, kissing each other with equal fervor. He could not have said then who had moved first, only that they were staring angrily into each other’s eyes one moment and pressing their lips together the next.
Their mutual passion lasted until a noise somewhere in the house startled them back to their senses. Elizabeth jumped back, her bosom heaving with the same shallow, breathless gasping as Darcy’s chest. In her eyes was now a different emotion, one he could not quite read, but beneath it all he knew there was attraction. Her response to the kiss at least proved one thing: that she was not as indifferent to him as she’d professed herself to be.
“Why did you do that?” she demanded. “I did not think the perfect Mr. Darcy capable of taking such liberties!”
“Why did I?” Darcy countered. “You kissed me, Miss Bennet!”
“That is absurd!” Elizabeth cried. “Why should I want to kiss the man whose proposal of marriage I have just refused?”
“And why should I want to kiss the woman who has just thoroughly refused me?” he rejoined. “Perhaps you kissed me because in your heart you wish you had accepted me.”
Elizabeth scoffed and turned away from him. Darcy pressed on. “You cannot be unaware of the immeasurable advantages that would be yours if you were my wife, of the increase in importance and connexions our marriage would be giving to your family.”
“Oh yes, the family which you had no scruple in disparaging only moments ago, reminding me even as you claimed to love me that we are beneath you,” Elizabeth retorted angrily. She crossed her arms and pointedly kept her gaze turned away from him. “I think it is best you leave, Mr. Darcy—or are you incapable of taking ‘no’ for an answer?”
Her words brought him up short. They were equally guilty of crossing the line of propriety, but she was refusing to admit her complicity. Very well. Darcy sighed in aggravation and did as he’d originally planned. He bowed, bid her a terse “Good day,” and after taking up his hat and gloves he departed in haste.
It was best, he thought morosely as he stalked away from the Hunsford parsonage, that he gather up Fitzwilliam and take his leave of Kent. He could not have Elizabeth—she had rejected him. Despite the enormity of his wealth, the additional consequence of having noble relations she could claim to be her own, and the honour of simply having been noticed by a man so superior to herself.
Darcy paused in midstride, suddenly struck immobile by one of Elizabeth’s angry speeches: “…your manners impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others…”
He supposed it was rather arrogant of him to have had no expectation of refusal and conceited to dwell upon how great his superiority was. But even after having his love spurned, he could not understand her rejection. He had everything to recommend him—wealth, property, connexions in the peerage, status in the first circle of society. Marriage to him could only be an advantage to a young woman like Elizabeth, whose father might well be a gentleman—
That must be part of it, he thought as his feet began to move again. Mr. Bennet was a gentleman every bit as much as Darcy was, having inherited a long-held family property. That made them equals, and Elizabeth was—by association as a gentleman’s daughter—also his equal. The only material difference was money. If Mr. Bennet’s income had been substantial enough to provide respectable dowries for his daughters, even the lack of connexions could have been overlooked.
But Darcy had not treated Elizabeth as an equal. He had spoken to her as though she ought to be groveling at his feet with gratitude that he had even deigned to speak to her. He slowly came to the realization that, in fact, her feelings hadn’t much entered into his mind at all—he’d assumed she liked him as much as any other young lady of his acquaintance without having taken pains to find out for certain, that she would indeed be grateful he’d taken notice of her, and that she would glory in her triumph over women ten times her consequence. He’d been more concerned with gratifying his desire of having the object of his fancy finally become his than he was with how he worded his proposal.
He paused again as he reached the top of the portico steps at Rosings and drew his hand over his face. Good God—had he really just told the woman he loved that members of her family were embarrassing, that their condition in life was decidedly beneath his own, and that marrying her would be a degradation? That he had fallen in love with her against his will, his reason, and even his character? No matter how natural and just these sentiments were, nor how right he was to have struggled against his inclination, was it possible that he had erred in the timing of his confession of those scruples?
Darcy had only wished to be entirely honest, to prove to Elizabeth that the obstacles which would undoubtedly arise at the announcement of their union were of little matter to him—that his love for her was such that having her for his wife was more important to him than any objection.
“…had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.”
When had he not been a gentleman? Darcy wondered as he entered his aunt’s house. As he climbed the stairs and made for his rooms, he reflected on the whole of his acquaintance with Elizabeth—from the first moment of their meeting to the disastrous encounter at the parsonage…and he dropped heavily into the chair before the fireplace as he began to understand just what she had meant.
A gentleman would not have kissed a woman who had refused his offer of marriage even if she was an equal participant. Her weakness did not excuse his own, and ashamed hardly described how he began to feel about himself for taking such a liberty.
A gentleman would not have stated every reason he had for not marrying a lady during the proposal in which he asked for her hand. However justified his reservations, it was suddenly, mortifyingly clear that pointing out her family’s failings had not so much wounded Elizabeth’s vanity as it had deeply hurt her feelings. If she had spoken so of his relations to him—even the supercilious Lady Catherine—Darcy would have been equally offended.
A gentleman would not have said that a lady was only tolerable and not handsome enough to dance with—at least, not aloud. Darcy had been in a very ill humor that evening and had only wanted Bingley to stop pestering him about dancing; he’d been of no mind to appreciate the beauty of any of the ladies around him, let alone one of the local squire’s five daughters. He’d known Elizabeth was sitting nearby—Bingley had pointed her out when he’d suggested having his partner introduce them—but he had not thought her so near as to overhear his conversation with his friend. He began to suspect that she had heard him and could now understand why she had afterward seemed so determined to argue with him whenever they conversed.
If so, the proposal was not the first time he’d wounded her. That insult at the Meryton assembly had “formed that groundwork of disapprobation, on which succeeding events”—no doubt including his disinclination to socialize with Bingley’s neighbours—“have built so immovable a dislike” that even one as intelligent as herself had been vulnerable to Wickham’s poison.
Wickham. He could hardly think the name without wishing to throttle the man. Darcy’s behaviour—his uneasiness in the company of strangers, which even he recognized made him more likely to offend than recommend himself—had already alienated Elizabeth against him, but he felt almost certain that her dislike might have been overcome had Wickham’s lies and half-truths not given her further reason to think ill of him.
In that, at least, I might defend myself, Darcy thought, and he surged from the chair to cross over to the writing desk. There he took out several sheets of paper, ink, and a pen, and he sat down to write Elizabeth a letter. He would explain everything—his motivation for separating Bingley and Jane, the whole history of his relationship with Wickham—and though he knew he could have no chance now of making her his wife, he would be contented if Providence allowed the letter to aid her in one day thinking better of him.
Well now, what do you think of that—was it a good teaser? I certainly hope so! Thank you so much for stopping by, and thanks to Sophia for having me.
Why I Kissed You will be available from Amazon in eBook, paperback, and hardcover editions on Friday, March 3rd. Leave a comment on today’s blog for a chance to win your very own Kindle copy—and follow along on the blog tour for a chance to win a signed paperback! If for any reason you cannot comment on a blog, notify me (Christine) by email and I will be sure to add you to the drawing for the paperback.
Christine, like many a JAFF author before her, is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen‘s work, and she hopes that her alternate versions are as enjoyable as the originals. She has plans to one day visit England and take a tour of all the grand country estates which have featured in film adaptations, and often dreams of owning one. Christine lives in Ohio and is already at work on her next book.
Hello to all and welcome back! Today I am visited by a retuning author, MJ Stratton and her new book, “From Another Perspective” which is a P&P variation! I have graciously been allowed to present an excerpt and a blurb and, of course, a giveaway! I am quite intrigued with the idea of this book, of seeing P&P from another perspective, like say Mrs. Hill? Or Anne de Bourgh? Or even Mrs. Younge, or some of the lesser known characters. But for now, I will leave you in the hands of my visiting authoress.
The events of Pride and Prejudice are well known by those familiar with Jane Austen’s work, but what would we see if the minor characters told the story? What were Mrs. Hill’s thoughts on the heir to Longbourn? How did Anne de Bourgh feel about her cousin’s fascination with the guests at the parsonage? Did Mrs. Younge willingly help Mr. Darcy find Wickham? From Another Perspective follows the events of Pride and Prejudice as seen through the eyes of some of the lesser players found in the novel, along with some others of the author’s own creation.
Mr. Phillips walked a few steps behind Mr. Wright and Mr. Bingley. The former was a middle aged man with a serious expression and gray forming at his temples. The latter was a gregarious and happy man of some twenty-five years, with red-gold hair and a fine figure. His clothing was costly and it was obvious he employed a talented tailor.
Though the two conversed in quiet tones, Mr. Phillips could read the satisfaction on Mr. Bingley’s face readily enough. Mr. Wright, though harder to read, likewise seemed pleased with the property. Occasionally during the tour, Mr. Phillips was called upon to answer questions, which he did with alacrity.
The housekeeper, Mrs. Nichols also accompanied the party. She proved to be an excellent source of information and had managed the upkeep of the empty property remarkably well. Having been employed by Netherfield’s owner over ten years previous, she had shown her worth many times through the years.
At the conclusion of the tour, Mr. Phillips and his guests repaired to the steward’s offices on the estate. There they set about discussing the particulars of finalizing the lease.
“The lease is for a year minimum, with the option to extend when the year concludes,” explained Mr. Phillips. “There are no special conditions attached to the lease, just the expectation that the property be maintained and the tenants well looked after. The permanent staff are also to remain with the property and are not at liberty to be removed under any circumstances without the express permission from Netherfield’s owner.”
“Capital!” enthused Mr. Bingley. “I am eager to venture into the realm of property management. Would it be possible to finalize the particulars so I might take possession by Michaelmas?”
“I see no reason why they would not be,” said Mr. Phillips. “The house will need to be aired out and the covers removed from the furniture, but Mrs. Nichols will have that in hand without delay.”
“That is wonderful,” Mr. Bingley said.
“Have you any other questions at this time?” Phillips inquired.
“I have only one,” said Mr. Bingley. “Is the owner of the park against any redecorating of the house? My younger sister shall accompany me to act as hostess and will be eager to add her own touches to the rooms.”
“General repairs to the property are encouraged, but any major renovations to the rooms must be approved prior to the undertaking, I am afraid. Should your sister wish to purchase a new rug or chair, the ones belonging to the estate may be stored in the attic during the lease and replaced when you give up the estate,” was the reply.
“Those are reasonable stipulations,” Mr. Wright said.
“Indeed,” stated Mr. Bingley. “My sister will have to be content with them, as I am very pleased with Netherfield and will brook no argument in my taking the property.”
Mr. Phillips smiled at the man’s enthusiasm. “Then let us begin organizing the final details, gentlemen,” he said. And so the legal work commenced.
That night as he settled into his bed, Mr. Phillips smiled to himself. A new resident in the area, and a wealthy, single gentleman at that. He could almost hear his wife’s voice in his head, berating him for keeping this news to himself. Best he prepare his defense now. Michaelmas was only three weeks away and she was sure to hear the news within the next fortnight at the most.
Almost two weeks to the day from that night, his wife burst into his office with enough force that the door hit the wall with a thud. Mr. Phillips winced at the noise and turned his attention to his lady.
“My dear Mrs. Phillips!” he said. “What a pleasure to see you this fine afternoon. How may I assist you?”
“You can begin by apologizing for your infamous treatment of me, sir!” she exclaimed. “You have used me abominably ill, you know!”
How very like her sister, Mrs. Bennet, his wife seemed at the moment. “To what do you refer, my dear?” he said innocently, the twinkle in his eye giving him away.
“Netherfield Park is let at last!” she said shrilly. “I have just had it from the butcher, who heard it from Lucy Jones, who works as a chambermaid for Netherfield. The butcher has received a large order for next week to make ready for the new master, a young man they say is worth at least five thousand a year! And you, sir, have likely had this immense news for some time since you are the solicitor that handles the estate!”
His wife finished her diatribe and huffed. Martha Phillips was a good woman, a bit silly, but kind, and a veritable gossip. That her husband knew that Netherfield was to be let and had not told her must rankle fiercely.
“Martha,” Mr. Phillips said patiently. “You know I was not at liberty to say anything. It is the nature of my work.”
“Well,” she huffed again. “You might have told me.”
Mr. Phillips sighed. Had he told his wife, the entire shire would have known that Netherfield was let before the end of the next day. Wisely, he did not mention this to his lady.
“Now, now, my dear,” he said. “I shall soon make it up to you. Did the butcher tell you anything else about Netherfield’s new tenant?”
“No,” she said testily. “No one seems to know anything other than what Lucy Jones has related.”
“Then I may be able to assuage some of your curiosity, my dear,” he said. “Mr. Bingley is from the north and is young and amiable. His father amassed a fortune in trade and he is leasing Netherfield in an attempt to learn estate management.”
“Is that all? Nothing of his looks or manner of dress?”
“I can tell you that his looks are as favorable as his manners,” Mr. Phillips replied playfully. “It is not in my nature to assess the outward appearance of those I deal with in business. It is their inner nature that most concerns me.”
“I suppose I shall have to be happy with your assessment, then,” said Mrs. Phillips. “I shall see you for tea shortly, Mr. Phillips. After that, I must visit my sister and apprise her of this momentous news.”
With that, his wife turned on her heel and exited the room. Mr. Phillips smiled to himself. His brother Bennet would be inundated with requests from his wife to visit their new neighbor. Phillips had no doubt that Bennet would use this opportunity to toy with Mrs. Bennet and the rest of the ladies of the house.
Mr. Phillips noted the time before turning back to his work. Mrs. Phillips would expect him for tea and it would not do to lose track of time and leave her waiting, not after so recently returning to her good graces.
He chuckled quietly and picked up a quill. Yes, the next few weeks would prove to be very diverting indeed. Perhaps the new resident of Netherfield would take a shine to one of the local ladies and become a more permanent resident. But speculation on such topics was the domain of his wife, and his work was waiting. Mr. Phillips turned his mind to the documents in front of him and promptly forgot about Mr. Bingley and Netherfield Park amidst his other concerns.
Please all, here is the link for the giveaway, so good luck and I hope you win a copy of this unusual copy of a P&P variation.
MJ Stratton is a teacher turned writer. She lives in rural Utah with her husband and three children. MJ has written for years and finally published her first book last September. Her love from Jane Austen began at a young age when she read Pride and Prejudice. Lost in Austen was the first Austenesque fiction she encountered and has been in love ever since. Along with writing, MJ loves to sew, cook, grow her garden, and tend her chickens.
Dear all, that’s it for now, I fear, but I will return shortly with a much loved and much beleaguered authoress, namely Joana Starnes and a review of her new book, “Snowbound.”
Hello and welcome back to everyone! This is the first blog of 2023! Imagine that! I feel like the year just turned to 2022, and now we are already in 2023! Happy New Year!
Today I am proud to welcome a new authoress, namely; Amanda Kai, who has a new book on the market. The new book is part I of a new series, so do not worry, more books will come. Amanda has also written “Marriage and Ministry”, “Unconventional” and others within the historical genre.
Mr. Darcy is not in want of a wife. At least, not one that only loves him for his money. Ever since he came of age, Darcy’s been an object of prey to fortune hunters– greedy ladies and their scheming mamas who would do anything to get their hands on his ten-thousand a year and his luxurious estate. Tired of being the most eligible man in any room he walks into, Darcy decides the only way to stave off the fortune hunters is to make himself unavailable to them.
Elizabeth Bennet is convinced that only the deepest love could persuade her into matrimony, and since that has yet to appear, she would do anything rather than marry without affection. Unfortunately, all her mother’s thoughts are bent on finding rich husbands for her and her sisters. With the arrival of Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy causing a stir among all the mothers of Meryton, Elizabeth knows it is only a matter of time before her own mother pushes her to try to capture one of these rich gentlemen for herself at all costs.
Seeing themselves in virtually the same predicament, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth come up with a convenient arrangement: they will pretend to court while Mr. Darcy is staying at Netherfield. Mr. Darcy will get a reprieve from the relentless husband hunters, and Elizabeth can satisfy her mother with the notion that she has landed a suitor.
But when the time comes for their partnership to end, the feelings that were merely an act have started to become a reality. Will Darcy and Elizabeth find a way to express the feelings that are in their hearts, or will they part ways for good?
Darcy could hardly hear his friend’s comment over the din in the Meryton Assembly Hall. The floor was crowded with couples, grinning and clapping, their feet stamping to the rhythm of the sprightly country dance coming from the string quartet in the gallery above.
“What’s that, you say, Bingley?” Darcy asked his friend over the roar of conversation and laughter adding to the noise of the dancing and the music.
“I said, I have never seen so many beautiful women in all my life!” The cheerful, ruddy-faced man exclaimed, coming closer to Darcy.
Darcy held back a smile. It was the same thing Bingley said wherever they went. He always found the women to be exceedingly beautiful, and Darcy knew it would not be long before Bingley found one in particular that would charm him completely.
“Come Darcy, I must have you dance,” his friend urged. “I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner.”
“There is not a girl in the room with whom it would not be a punishment to stand up with,” he said bitterly.
Darcy hated these sorts of events. They were all the same. As soon as word got around that Mr-Ten-Thousand-A-Year-Darcy had graced them with his presence, the young ladies and their eager mamas began circling like vultures. Shortly after their arrival, the master of ceremonies had tried his best to persuade Darcy to be introduced to several of them, but Darcy had adamantly refused. Nevertheless, a number of them had flocked around him for several minutes, batting their eyes coyly, flirtatious smiles on their faces, each hoping to be asked by him to dance, until one by one they had been claimed by other partners.
Bingley laughed. “Upon my word! I would not be so fastidious for a kingdom! They are all extremely pleasant, and several of them uncommonly pretty.”
“You are dancing with the only pretty girl in the room. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles. You are wasting your time with me.”
Bingley laughed, and went back to the pretty blonde he had been dancing with.
Darcy continued to watch from a distance. What was the girl’s name again? Miss Beckett? No, Bennet, he corrected himself. The one with all the sisters.
Just after the first set, Bingley had asked the master of ceremonies for an introduction. Apparently, Bingley had seen Miss Bennet during the first dance while he was paired with Miss Lucas and had been quite taken with her. Miss Jane Bennet. Yes, that’s her name, Darcy recalled. He had been standing beside Bingley when they were introduced to her and her family. She had four sisters, but Darcy could not seem to recall their names. He looked around the room for them. The two youngest girls, both of whom were nearly the spitting image of their mother, albeit younger and thinner, were dancing gleefully with a pair of fellows. Darcy imagined that Mrs. Bennet might have once been pretty herself at their age. Another sister had taken out a book from her reticule and sat down on a bench, where, despite her mother’s urging that she put it away at once lest she make herself appear unavailable to any men who might ask her to dance, continued on reading, deaf to her mother’s anxious pleas. Darcy’s eyes searched the room for the last sister. He finally spotted her hiding in the back of the room on the side opposite him. She appeared to be avoiding anyone asking her to dance, having deliberately positioned herself where it was unlikely that she would be sought out. What a strange family, Darcy thought. He studied the girl’s expression as she watched the dancing and clapped along in time for amusement. There was a brightness to her deep, dark eyes that made the corner of Darcy’s mouth turn up. She is tolerable enough, I suppose, Darcy thought to himself, but not handsome enough to tempt me.
“Hiding away in the corner already, are we?” A voice whispered in his ear. Darcy bristled. It was Bingley’s youngest sister, Caroline. “Are you not going to dance tonight, Mr. Darcy? I thought you had promised to at least dance with me.”
“I do not recall making such a promise.”
“I thought you had said as much during dinner. And anyhow, it would be such a shame if you did not! We are friends after all, are we not?”
Darcy could not claim such. He saw her as nothing more than the sister of his good friend. But ever since they had been introduced a few years past, she had set her cap towards him. She was a prime example of the type of girl he wished most to avoid; a girl who never cared to know him personally, but always had her eye on his fortune. Still, he knew it would be bad manners to deny her, and that she would persist until she had her way. Best to get it over with, Darcy decided.
Wordlessly, he offered her his hand and led her to join the dance. Caroline’s look of glee made Darcy instantly regret that he had capitulated so easily. Luckily, the second half of the set was already under way, so it would not be more than ten minutes and his obligation to her would be over. He would not, under any circumstances, give her the satisfaction of a second dance. Doing so would only encourage her obsession with him.
As they promenaded down the polished wooden floor of the assembly hall, Caroline attempted to make conversation with Darcy. But he hardly listened. His eyes kept being drawn, not to the matchmaking mamas or their bloodsucker daughters, all of whom were eyeing them with envy, but to that pair of dark eyes, watching him from the back of the crowd. That second-oldest Bennet girl. Elizabeth, was it? Why was she not among the girls vying for his attention?
As soon as that set had ended, Darcy broke free from Caroline and tried to make his way towards Miss Elizabeth. He was pressed in on all sides by a group of young ladies, no doubt pressured by their mothers to make themselves readily available in hopes they would be graced next. Caroline attempted to follow him, but was cut off by the other ladies and could not get close.
Darcy knew that the moment he set foot in the county, that every mother with a single daughter between the ages of sixteen and thirty would be desperate to marry her off to him. It was the same everywhere he went. A person’s fortune was all that anybody seemed to care about. Darcy shuddered, still remembering a time a few years back when an overzealous mother tried to trap him into marrying her daughter. And then there was the incident over the summer with his dear sister and that blackguard. No, I will not submit my thoughts to that horror any longer, Darcy told himself. Georgiana is safe now. If only I could say the same for myself.
Darcy looked at the eager faces around him and began to panic. Some were prettier than others, but none worthy of any notice. He glanced around for help. Bingley had apparently asked Jane Bennet to dance a second set. He was already lining up with her on the dance floor, looking like an adoring puppy dog. There would be no help from his quarter.
“Why Mr. Darcy, have you not chosen a dance partner for this set yet?” Caroline Bingley had caught up with him. “I am still available, as you can see.”
Now Darcy was trapped between her and the gaggle of giggling geese surrounding him.
He realized it had been a mistake to dance with Caroline. Now that he had been seen dancing, he would be expected to dance the rest of the evening. There would be no escaping it. Failure to do so would put him in social jeopardy, ostracize him in the eyes of the neighborhood. But he could not bring himself to ask Caroline a second time, nor to give any other greedy mothers their satisfaction. What could he do?
Through the crowds, Darcy spied Caroline and Charles Bingley’s elder sister Mrs. Hurst. Early on, she had secured a seat near the punchbowl, where she intended to remain the whole night unless asked to dance by one of the men in her party. Her husband had already disappeared to the card room and would likely not reappear until it was time to leave or until his pockets ran empty. There was a small gap between the giggling group of women, and he took it.
“Louisa,” Darcy said, startling Mrs. Hurst and causing her to drip punch down her dress. “Dance with me,” he insisted, grabbing her arm before she could say no.
“Well, I suppose,” she slurred.
They found their places just as the music began again. Louisa staggered through the steps. Twice, Darcy had to take her arm to ensure she did not crash into another dancer.
His eyes returned to that dark beauty who had kept him so entranced. He detected a smile on her face as she watched the dancing. Was she amused by him? He tried to keep his composure, but it was difficult, since he had to steer a drunken Louisa Hurst around the room.
He caught Caroline’s eye as they went down the set. She looked visibly disappointed with her current partner, a gangly buck-toothed fellow with two left feet.
There was a break after that set so the musicians could take a rest. Some of the dancers left to see what was happening in the card room. Others mingled near the punchbowl or went to the tea room for a hot beverage and something to eat.
Mrs. Hurst staggered off to the card room to chastise her husband for leaving her alone all evening, slurping from her punch glass the whole way. Darcy saw Caroline looking for him again. He ducked into the crowd that was headed for the tea room, hoping she did not see him.
The tea room was smaller and therefore even more crowded than the assembly room had been, since now most of the throng was gathered there.
Darcy selected a savory bacon-wrapped oyster off of the tray and took a cup of tea from a servant that offered it to him. Finding his way to the corner of the room, he hoped Caroline could not find him. He inched his way backwards to the wall until he came upon something soft and squishy.
“Careful there!” a voice cried.
The voice came from none other than the dark-haired Bennet girl, who had herself sequestered in that very corner, trying to enjoy some tea and a few nibbles.
“Miss Elizabeth, please excuse me,” Darcy apologized, hoping he had her name right.
“You have the right idea,” she said, “trying to hide out in the corner. It’s dreadfully crowded this evening, isn’t it?” A beguiling smile spread across her face and made Darcy’s heart thump. “Don’t worry, I won’t give away your position if I see her.”
“The one you’re hiding from. Mr. Bingley’s sister. Miss Bingley, I should say. Not the older one,” she clarified.
“You saw that, then?”
“Oh yes. It was quite amusing, really.” Miss Elizabeth took a sip of her tea, a twinkle in her eyes.
Darcy seized the chance to ask her the question that had been burning in his mind all evening. “I noticed you have not danced at all this whole evening.”
“An astute observation.” Elizabeth cocked her head to one side.
“And you have positioned yourself so as to be unapproachable by any young men who might be inclined to ask you to dance.”
She nodded. “Also correct.”
“If it is not too bold, might I ask why? On a night like this, why would a young lady such as yourself not want to dance?”
Elizabeth glanced up at him. “I am doing the very same thing you are doing, Mr. Darcy.” The amusement on her lips drove him to distraction.
“And what is that, pray tell?”
“Trying to avoid being maneuvered into the matchmaking frenzy by an overzealous mother.”
The surprise on Darcy’s face made her laugh, so she continued. “I have watched you, this evening. You are not eager to be set upon by any of the eligible ladies here. And I, as you might have seen,” she gestured to Mrs. Bennet on the other side of the room, who was chatting up Mr. Bingley with a blushing Jane standing beside, “I have an overzealous mama who will do anything to make a good match for her daughters. It has been some time since any wealthy men passed through Meryton. My mother has behaved like a starved vulture from the moment she learned that Mr. Bingley was to lease Netherfield Park. You were not in the room for five minutes before it became known that your fortune is double that of your friend’s. I have no doubt that my mother is only biding her time before she throws me at you.”
“Yes, I am sure my ten-thousand a year holds no draw for you,” Darcy chuckled.
“Were I the mercenary sort, I am certain it would!” Elizabeth joined his laugh. “Do not mistake me, Mr. Darcy. I am sure you are a good sort of person who will make your wife very happy one day. But I would never marry a rich man whom I didn’t love, and I shall not make a fool of myself by allowing my mother to push me into such a match for her sake. Only the deepest love could persuade me into matrimony. Which is why I shall probably end up an old maid.” There was a twinkle in her eyes as she said this.
“Surely you don’t mean that,” Darcy let out a small chuckle.
“Oh, I do.”
“I mean, there will come a time when someone or other will capture your heart.”
“Well, best of luck to any man who wishes to try!” Elizabeth smiled, raising a small cheer with her tea cup. “But what of you, Mr. Darcy? Have you no wish to settle down and find a suitable wife to make mistress of your grand estate?”
Darcy shook his head. “So far, the only women I have met are interested in nothing more than my sizable estate. Until I can find a woman who loves me for me, and not my wealth, I would rather remain a carefree bachelor. So I suppose you and I are alike in some ways, Miss Bennet.”
“Indeed we are.”
Darcy found Miss Elizabeth to be singular. Certainly, she differed from the women who usually associated with him, who all made it clear they desired his money more than getting to know who he was as a person. Caroline was a model in that respect, a prime example of the sort of woman who looked at Darcy and saw a fortune, a prestigious family line, and a vast estate, rather than a man.
An idea flew into Darcy’s brain. A crazy thought, if he ever had one. And why not? What had he to lose?
“I have a proposition for you, Miss Elizabeth.”
“A proposition? How shocking!” she teased, her eyebrows raising in mirth.
Darcy felt his cheeks pink. “Nothing of that sort, I assure you. Everything will be entirely proper. What I am suggesting is, you and I be each other’s cover. A way to throw off all the matchmaking mamas, including your own.”
Elizabeth’s eyebrow went up and a grin spread across her pink lips. “I am intrigued.”
“We shall pretend to court,” Darcy said. “If I am paying exclusive attention to you, then all the other mothers in the village and thereabouts will have no choice but to desist in throwing their daughters at me.”
“And my own mama will be satisfied with the notion that I have captured a rich man!” Elizabeth laughed in glee. Then she stopped short. “But what about as time goes on? If you pay me too much attention, you will be honor-bound to make me an offer. My father would see to it, I am sure, as would my mother. I would not have you trapped so, sir.”
Pleased to hear her say such a thing, Darcy pondered a moment. He snapped his fingers. “When things begin to get too heated, I shall simply leave town, go to another place. It happens all the time, you know, when a young man is seen paying too much attention to a woman he does not plan to marry. He goes away from that area, and after a while, the talk dies down and nobody expects him to come back and propose. And that puts an end to it all.”
Elizabeth thought for a moment. “Hmm. The idea does have merit. When would this proposed departure take place?”
“I do not know. At the moment, I have no pressing business concerns. I am Bingley’s guest, and I am here to help him establish his own household at Netherfield. I always supposed I would stay until the Season, but there is nothing that would prevent me from going to London early, especially as I will likely be making short journeys there from time to time to attend to my business.”
Elizabeth nodded. “It is but a half-day’s ride.”
“Indeed,” Darcy agreed. Their plan seemed to be shaping up nicely. But Elizabeth had a few questions.
“How will we arrange our meetings? It is too risky to send a message.”
“No,” Darcy agreed. “But I am sure we shall meet often enough. No doubt your mother will issue us an invitation soon, if she is anything like you have described. And I can certainly persuade Bingley to invite your family over to Netherfield for a visit. He has even talked of giving a ball this autumn.”
“And there are sure to be other engagements with our mutual acquaintances in the neighborhood during which we may meet,” Elizabeth added.
“All I need to do is ensure that at every opportunity, I single you out when we are together in company,” Darcy said. “If people see us talking together, dancing together, then they will naturally make assumptions about us. It is quite simple, really!”
“Well then! To that point, why not begin this evening?” Elizabeth linked her arm in his. “I hear the musicians tuning their instruments for the next set.”
Darcy smiled. “May I have this dance, then, Miss Elizabeth?”
“You may!” She beamed.
The crowd followed the faint strains of violin, viola, and cello back into the assembly room. To the astonishment of everyone in the room, and the envy of nearly every woman there, Mr. Darcy took his place beside Elizabeth at the front of the line. The scowl on Caroline’s face nearly matched the green of her dress, and Darcy thought he saw one poor girl weeping into her mother’s shoulder. Mrs. Bennet, however, was full of glee. Seeing her next- eldest daughter dancing with the richest man in the room– and in all of Derbyshire– was enough to make her forget her displeasure at the fact that Mr. Bingley had asked Mary King to dance with him on this set.
“Our plan seems to be working,” Elizabeth whispered as the Polonaise began.
“Quite so.” A grin like a Cheshire cat spread across Mr. Darcy’s face.
Dear readers, we are so lucky that Amanda have gracefully offered 1 ebook of her new book, “Not in want of a wife” as a giveaway! So leave a comment and we will get in touch about the winner.
Amanda Kai’s love of period dramas and classic literature inspires her historical romances and other romances. She is the author of several stories inspired by Jane Austen, including Not In Want of a Wife, Elizabeth’s Secret Admirer, and Marriage and Ministry. Prior to becoming an author, Amanda enjoyed a successful career as a professional harpist, and danced ballet for twenty years. When she’s not diving into the realm of her imagination, Amanda lives out her own happily ever after in Texas with her husband and three children.
For now dear readers, I will leave you to your comments, and wish all good luck in the giveaway. Again, happy new year and I hope we will see you here again, soon.
Hello to all and very nearly merry Christmas! So this will likely be the last blog before the new year, amazing that we are almost at 2023 already! I have been following Christine and her books for a while now, and this newest and upcoming book is definitely a keeper!
But for now, I will leave you in Christine’s capable hands.
Hello everyone! I am so very excited to be returning to Interests of a Jane Austen Girl to talk about my latest Austen variation, Three Brides for Three Cousins!
Fitzwilliam Darcy’s twin cousins are ready for their debut in society, and one might think that would keep their mother—the Countess of Disley—well occupied. But even preparing her daughters for presentation to the Queen and their debut ball has not stopped Lady Disley’s plans to marry off her two sons and her nephew at last.
Elizabeth Bennet and her elder sister Jane are in London with their aunt and uncle at Gracechurch Street to enjoy some of the delights of the Season. They do not expect that meeting Mrs. Gardiner’s cousin from Derbyshire and the young lady to whom she is companion will lead to a reunion with the young man who wrote Jane some verses of poetry when she was 15 … or that he will be revealed to be a viscount.
Although sure this means the end of their new acquaintance with the shy Miss Darcy, Elizabeth and Jane are surprised when her brother lets the friendship continue. More than that, Lord Rowarth is forced to confess that his feelings for Jane remain strong, and his determination to defy convention and pursue a match with her unintentionally draws Elizabeth and Darcy to each other. Amidst supporting his brother’s attachment to one Bennet sister and encouraging his cousin Darcy’s growing feelings for the other, Colonel Theodore Fitzwilliam is enlisted by a duke’s daughter to help prevent her family’s ruination from scandal.
Family drama, misunderstandings, and the expectations of society are difficult waters to navigate. Can these three cousins get through it all to win the hearts of their chosen ladies and secure their own happiness?
CHAPTER 1, second part;
I do hope that blurb intrigues you! Now to further reel you in, here is the second part of Chapter One:
Fitzwilliam Darcy watched as Mrs. Annesley touched the arm of his sister and gave a very subtle incline of her head toward the tea set that had just been delivered by the housekeeper. Georgiana colored, put her needlework aside, and stood to serve.
“H-how do you take your tea, Lord Rowarth?” she asked their eldest cousin hesitantly.
Philip offered her a smile. “Georgiana, you really needn’t address me so formally. Cousin Philip, or just Philip, will do.”
Georgiana blushed again, her eyes darting between Darcy and Mrs. Annesley. “But… but we are taught in school that a viscount—”
Philip waived off her words. “Any other viscount, yes—be as formal as you were taught. But we are family, dearest. Others may differ, of course, but when not in company you are more than welcome to address me by my Christian name, as I do you.”
He sat forward and smiled at her again. “And I take my tea with a wedge of lemon and two sugars.”
With a hand that only shook a little, Georgiana poured a cup of tea, adding the lemon and sugar as he requested, and handed it to him. Philip smiled and nodded and sat back with ease. Georgiana flicked a glance toward Darcy again and he also offered a nod and a smile. When serving Philip’s younger brother, Theodore, she was a little less reserved, and with Darcy even less, but even with him she kept her eyes cast down. After pouring for Mrs. Annesley and then herself, Georgiana sat down again.
Darcy sighed softly but was gratified by Mrs. Annesley’s presence; the widowed lady had been working very diligently with his sister to draw out the smiles and cheerfulness she’d always had at the ready before Ramsgate. Before Wickham. Georgiana had withdrawn so far into herself after learning the truth about that scoundrel that she rarely spoke more than two words together. She often had to be reminded to do her duty as hostess when they had guests, as she was now so painfully shy.
Grinding his teeth together, Darcy forced thoughts of his nemesis from his mind. It would not do to have either of his cousins or his sister take notice of a darkened mood, for the former would only needle him with questions, and his sister would only be discomfited by the answers.
Viscount Rowarth and Colonel Fitzwilliam were at Pemberley with him and Georgiana because they were avoiding their mother. Of late she seemed to have renewed her mission to see her sons married, despite being kept busy with plans for their sisters’ debut in the coming Season. But Philip was over thirty and Theodore would soon reach that age, and in the countess’s mind, they should have both of them already made her a grandmother. Darcy could well sympathize with his cousins, as his aunt had also taken it upon herself—in the absence of his own late, honored mother—to begin pressing him to at last give Pemberley a new mistress.
And he would…when he was good and ready.
Ralston, his butler, entered the parlor then, carrying a letter on a tray. He stopped by Darcy’s chair, and when he had taken the folded paper, the older man bowed and departed as quietly as he had entered.
“Who’s it from, Will?” asked Theodore.
Darcy examined the handwriting on the front and tried not to frown. “Your mother,” he replied, then turned the note over and broke the seal. He was not altogether surprised by the message within and stifled another sigh as he finished reading and folded it again.
“What did my mother have to say, Will?” asked Philip. “Does she fear we will not make our required appearance at the twins’ come-out ball? It’s not for another four weeks, for goodness’ sake!”
Darcy scoffed. “Not precisely. Though it is mentioned that you and Theodore will be there, my aunt’s letter is a strong request for my presence also.”
The brothers looked to one another, with Philip grinning as Theodore laughed. “You mean you’ve been summoned to appear!” the latter cried.
“So it would seem,” said Darcy sourly.
“Come, Theo—you know that Mamma’s been as much on Darcy to marry as she has the two of us of late. You’d think she had a third son, the way she’s been after him,” Philip mused.
“So, you will go to London for the winter, brother?” Georgiana asked softly.
Darcy looked to her. “We will go,” said he with a smile. “I’ll not leave you and Mrs. Annesley here alone.”
Mrs. Annesley’s serene expression brightened. “Oh, that would be delightful, sir! I have family in London I’ve not seen in some years that I will be able to renew my acquaintance with.”
A genial smile lifted the corners of Darcy’s mouth, and he inclined his head. “You are welcome, ma’am.”
Though the debut of his female cousins was still four weeks hence, Darcy began making plans for an extended stay in London that evening—it was always his preference to plan ahead when he could. There were many matters to be settled about the estate and in the villages over which he was patron before he could pack himself and his sister off to a city neither of them truly enjoyed for however long his aunt demanded he play her game. Like Philip and Theodore, he wished to make rather a different sort of match than so many of their friends’ parents—the three all desired to marry for love in a society where making an advantageous match to preserve or increase property and wealth was the main goal of marriage. The viscount and his brother had long said that was why they had waited to marry.
Darcy, of course, had a much different reason for putting off marriage. The death of his father near five years before had thrust upon him the mantle of “master of Pemberley” long before he’d expected it. He had known something of how to manage the estate and tenants, of course, but losing his father in such a tragic way as he had and taking on the guardianship of his much younger sister had been almost more than he could bear. It had taken time to get used to his new role, to ensure that the staff in the house and the tenants without not only respected but also trusted him.
Though he had always been somewhat fastidious, the change in the dynamic of his household—where already one parent had been years gone—had led to his becoming more so. Thus, Darcy had put contingencies in place should anything happen to him. If he died tomorrow, every person who depended on him would be well-looked after.
Although the ball presenting his cousins Cecilia and Olivia to society was still a month in future, his design was that he, Georgiana, and her companion would arrive just after the new year. Darcy would have time to take pleasure in his club and visits with friends before the family’s first grand display of the Season, and his own unwilling immersion in the marriage mart.
At least Philip and Theodore would be suffering along with him.
Now back to Christine
Well now, what do you think of that—was it a good teaser? I certainly hope so! Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to Sophia for having me.
*Sophia*; Christine, I am as always pleased to host you and your books! And boy oh boy does this book sound amazing!! I am definitely already looking at buying this book!
“Three Brides for Three Cousins” is available in eBook from Amazon. Paperback and hardcover editions coming soon!
Christine, like many a JAFF author before her, is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen‘s work, and she hopes that her alternate versions are as enjoyable as the originals. She has plans to one day visit England and take a tour of all the grand country estates which have featured in film adaptations, and often dreams of owning one. Christine lives in Ohio and is already at work on her next book.
Hello all and welcome back! This time around, I am pleased to host Grace Gibson, another returning authoress to my blog. We are to read and see what kind of Pride and Prejudice variation, she has written this time around. I will promise, drama, heartache, stubbornness and a HEA by the end of it. I will also admit to some surprises along the way, so come along and see what happens.
Does it ever stop raining in Lambton?
Darcy and Bingley depart Netherfield Park, leaving Elizabeth Bennet acutely aware of the monotony of her life. Seeking a reprieve, she volunteers to serve as temporary companion to Mrs. Gardiner’s elderly aunt who lives in Lambton. Nothing turns out as Elizabeth expects, and she is forced to dig deep into her reserves of common sense, humor, and stubborn persistence to prove herself equal to the dreary circumstances.
Initially unaware that Pemberley is only five miles away, Elizabeth crosses paths with Darcy annoyingly often. When the gentleman rescues her from a shocking situation, Elizabeth faces some hard choices, at the same time struggling against the smoldering attraction that can neither be repressed nor fulfilled.
Mr. Darcy, meanwhile, in whose heart a fire has also been lit, is shocked by the lady’s stubborn refusal to accept his help. Alternating between alarm and begrudging admiration, he stands helplessly on the sidelines while she struggles to retain her independence. He, too, must make some hard choices in the end. Will he let her go?
The last house in Lambton By Grace Gibson
This book takes it beginning with the Netherfield Party has left Meryton and the whole town is upset about it. It was quite informative to read Elizabeth’s thoughts on the party and Collins.
As always a pleasure to read a known author, though I will admit I was quite surprised by Grace this time around, a book written in first person narrative, not something which is seen often, but surprisingly it worked well, as we follow along on Elizabeth Bennet and her adventures in Lambton.
As Elizabeth and Jane visits their aunt and uncle in London, Mrs Gardiner receives a letter from her aunt in Lambton, an elder woman, who simply can’t do without company while her housekeeper is away. But as Mrs Gardiner is busy with her children and life in London, Elizabeth suggests that she goes. Before she left Longbourn, Mrs Bennet had declared that Elizabeth would end her days as a drudge to Mrs Collins, and I will admit that insult stung me almost as badly as it did Elizabeth. But the words would come back to haunt Elizabeth.
As soon as Elizabeth arrives in Lambton, she is bombarded with information about her great-aunt, and not a maid to help her to change or settle in. Soon she discovers that her great aunt is quite elderly and quite without her wits, which we today would call dementia. I felt so bad for the woman, and felt even worse for Elizabeth as she ends up having to take control of the house, as both caretaker and housekeeper, a role she is little prepared for.
Soon she needs help, and seeks out the housekeeper at Pemberley. Here she once again encounters Darcy, who thinks Elizabeth is seeking him out but mistakes her interest which she has for Mrs Reynolds’ knowledge for interest in him. Oh gosh, it felt embarrassing!
I will admit to wanting to kick Elizabeth several times throughout the book, but I grew to love her and her great aunt as characters. Soon the drama reaches a high point, and Darcy comes to the rescue, – damsel in distress and all that. Not a role we are used to see Elizabeth in. This drama leads Elizabeth and her great aunt to move to Pemberley. Here Georgiana Darcy makes another appearance alongside of sweet kittens and an adorable little dog.
Soon feelings are developing between Darcy and Elizabeth – and then the story takes another turn as Mr Gardiner arrives.
But I do promise a HEA and a wonderful proposal, which made me sigh in contentment!
GUEST POST; Grace Gibson
For now I will leave you in Grace’s hands for a bit while she tells about some plot details, including a certain very cute dog!
Thank you so much for having me today, Sophia. I appreciate the opportunity to share news of my new release on your beautiful blog.
For those of you who enjoyed Bandit in Old Boots, I assure you that there is also a dog—Queenie— in The Last House in Lambton. She also plays a critical role in the stirring events that take place.
But for the sake of inclusion for the cat lovers out there, there is also a litter of kittens owned by Georgiana Darcy. Here is an excerpt, told from Darcy’s point of view, in which a handful of playful kittens help to set the scene:
Waking was painful as I am unused to brawling, and I ached from head to toe. And though I longed to stay in bed and indulge my pains, I could not do so without fueling speculation about where I had been all night. Besides, I had left Georgiana abruptly in the midst of a pleasant evening, and I wished to gloss over any appearance of irregularity.
Summoning the required stoicism, I managed to look a reasonable semblance of myself and went in search of my sister. She sat over a half-eaten late breakfast with two kittens in her lap and a third wreaking havoc on her braids from the perch of her shoulder.
“What a charming picture,” I said, as I sat down with my plate, noticing with a tinge of relief that my knuckles were only slightly reddened and unlikely to give me away. The cut on my lip was small enough that I hoped it, too, would escape notice, but I was prepared to blame Carsten for too close a shave if needs must.
Georgiana smiled wistfully, put her tormentors in the basket at her feet, and said, “You are hungry this morning.”
“Starving, in fact. What are your plans today?” I asked.
Rather than answer me, my sister spoke to her companion. “Mrs. Annesley, would you mind very much taking the kittens to Marie in the kitchen? I am sure that is where Buttons can be found, and she should be mothering her brood instead of helping with the cream buckets.”
She continued to pick at her breakfast, and I continued to devour mine, but I could not help but notice that the air in the room had changed—that my sister was oddly preoccupied. No sooner had the footman left the room with the tray of cleared dishes, than she confirmed my suspicion.
With uncharacteristic directness, she asked, “What happened last night?”
Uh-oh! Darcy brawling? Let us presume that Elizabeth Bennet had something to do with that cut on his lip, because—well, she is Elizabeth and he cannot help himself. If you are curious what could possibly make Darcy roll up his sleeves and break a nose or two, then enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of The Last House in Lambton.
In addition to mosaic art, which she creates at Studio Luminaria (her home-based glass shop in El Paso, Texas), Grace enjoys writing Regency romance and Pride and Prejudice variations.
Giveaway Meryton Press will be giving away one eBook for each stop on the Blog Tour, for a total of six eBooks. So leave a comment, and I will pick a winner on November 15th, and inform Grace about the winner, who will receive an E-book of “The Last House in Lambton” in either mobi or E-pub version.
For now, I will leave you all to your reading, and say, “I’ll be seeing you soon again.” Cheers and good luck!
Welcome back everyone, old and new readers! Today I am hosting a returning authoress, namely Kelly Miller and her new book, “A dutiful son”, its a Pride and Prejudice variation, and a very good one at that. But for now, I will leave you in Kelly’s hands.
What will Fitzwilliam Darcy do when his beloved father stands between him and happiness?
Darcy has always emulated his wise and honourable father, George Darcy. But following a sinister act of betrayal by a former family friend, his father rejects his most benevolent principles.
When Georgiana forms a friendship with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Darcy convinces his father to allow the association to continue. However, Elizabeth soon presents a thorny problem: she entices Darcy as no other lady has before, and with his father’s current outlook, he would not approve of her as a daughter-in-law.
Still, Darcy’s problem may resolve in time: his father, after getting to know Elizabeth, is certain to recognise her many admirable qualities and change his mind. But what if he does not?
In this Pride & Prejudice Regency variation, Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught between the influences of love and duty. Which of these will wield the greatest power?
Thank you so much for hosting me today, Sophia! I have an excerpt today from Chapter 2 of “A Dutiful Son.” This scene, written in Elizabeth Bennet’s point of view, takes place the morning after Jane has taken ill and spent the night at Netherfield Hall. While on her way to the estate, Elizabeth encounters Georgiana and Fitzwilliam Darcy, who are both on horseback.
She exchanged greetings with Mr. and Miss Darcy. “I am going to Netherfield Park to see my sister. Can you tell me how she fares?”
Crinkles formed around Mr. Darcy’s dark eyes. “The apothecary, Mr. Jones, saw her last night. I understand she suffered from a fever at the time. He gave her a draught and will return to see her today.”
“Oh dear.” Miss Darcy’s forehead constricted. “A large section of the path we just crossed is completely covered in mud this morning. I do not recommend you take it on foot.”
“I suspected that might be the case. Our carriage was unavailable, so I had no alternative. But I have wended my way through mud before. I shall manage.”
“You need not do so on this occasion.” With a glance at Mr. Darcy, Miss Darcy leaned forward in the saddle. “I could ride back to the house with my brother upon Regal and you could ride Pansy.”
He nodded. “Yes, that is a good notion.”
“I thank you, but I am not dressed for riding.”
“Oh yes, I ought to have thought of that.” Miss Darcy’s smile faded.
“I see. Your skirt is too narrow.” Mr. Darcy rubbed a hand over his mouth. “You could sit sideways upon Regal and ride with me.”
She gaped at him. “I could not do that; it would not be proper!”
“It would be ill-advised if we were alone, but my sister will accompany us the entire time. The area overspread with deep mud is perhaps ten yards long and too wide for you to go around. Once we have crossed it, you could walk the rest of the way. I should hate for you to soil your dress when it can be avoided.”
Elizabeth pulled her lower lip between her teeth. To arrive with her petticoats covered in mud would provide fodder for the Bingley sisters to disparage her. But the magnificent black stallion made a far more imposing figure than Baxter. “Are you quite certain your horse will not object to carrying both of us?”
“You need not be concerned.” Miss Darcy glimpsed at Mr. Darcy. “Regal is devoted to my brother and trusts him implicitly.”
Mr. Darcy held her in a solemn gaze. “I should not have made the suggestion if I had any doubt for your safety.”
“Very well. I shall ride with you past the muddiest area and walk the rest of the way.”
He dismounted and waved her closer. “Stand here with your back to Regal.”
She followed his instruction and sucked in her breath as his hands closed around her waist. He raised her upon the animal’s back, appearing to expend no more effort than if he had lifted a doll. The celerity of his action prevented her from dwelling on the intimacy involved, yet fire seared her cheeks, and her heart surged to a raging rhythm.
“Hold onto Regal’s mane.”
Elizabeth twisted at the waist and grabbed the coarse black hair with both hands.
He mounted and sat behind her. “Are you ready to proceed?”
Mr. Darcy urged Regal forward. The steed maintained a walk, but without stirrups to steady her, the rocking motion of the gait pushed her back against the gentleman’s chest with each step—until she had the presence of mind to brace herself in a forward position.
She had never before been in such an intimate position with a man unrelated to her. Along with the smells attributable to the horse, another scent surrounded her that must have been Mr. Darcy’s—a pleasing mixture of aromas: pine, citrus, and others too subtle to identify. In her experience, males often had strong body odours that could be offensive. But his scent tantalised her senses, delivering a strange intoxicating effect.
The wisdom of the Darcys’ advice soon became apparent. On foot, she could not have avoided the extensive stretch of viscous mud ahead. Had she trudged through it, she would have been a sorry sight upon her arrival.
The mighty black steed took a faltering step into the worst section of mud. For a frightening second, she stilled. Would she, Mr. Darcy, and the horse all tumble down together?
“All is well.” His euphonious baritone inches from her ear restored her equanimity. The horse made a quick adjustment and continued without incident.
She took shallow breaths until they emerged from the sludge onto firm earth. “I believe I can walk from here.”
“Very well.” Mr. Darcy dismounted. Once again, he gripped her waist and lowered her to the ground in a smooth, easy motion.
Elizabeth’s anticipation of this contact—which lasted no more than a second or two—did nothing to lessen the impact. Mr. Darcy’s maddening touch stole her focus. After he released her, the heightened sensation of warmth at her sides lingered. At least her racing heart now slowed to a normal pace.
Thank you, Kelly for allowing us this view into your new book! It was a pleasure to read it, and of course, since I have read the book, I was quite pleased with it!
The story takes it start stright after the Ramsgate episode. And to my utter surprise George Darcy is still alive at this point, and therefore master of Pemberley, and Fitzwilliam only the heir.
With the Ramsgate incident, George Darcy goes back on his progressive ways and adopt a more traditional view of things; friendships with tradesmen and who to marry and why. This has quite a few good and bad consequences for both Georgiana and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Though the famous romance between Elizabeth and Darcy doesn’t change, much to my relief, – though they have a better start at the assembly in Meryton. This is where the first sparks are lit, and a friendship starts for the two headstrong characters.
During the visit to Meryton, Georgiana is also present, and she and Elizabeth forms a friendship, and Georgiana is also involved with getting Elizabeth back on her horse, quite literally, – she gets Elizabeth to start riding again on a very friendly horse, named Baxter. Elizabeth forms enduring friendships with both Baxter, the horse, Georgiana and Darcy which sets the tone for the book.
Much to my enjoyment and pleasure, Darcy FINALLY puts Wickham in his place by hitting him! I will admit to cheering, loudly! hehe
There was so many surprises throughout this story. Many of them I enjoyed greatly, some where I was shaking my head in denial, and again a few where I was ready to throw my kindle away, though the last ones where few.
By the end of the visit to Meryton, Georgiana invites Elizabeth to Pemberley for the summer, and then the drama begins. During the visit to Pemberley, Elizabeth is made aware that she has no hope of securing Fitzwilliam Darcy or his cousin, the former Col. Fitzwilliam as potenial husbands, even if Elizabeth has already developed feelings for Darcy. Meanwhile George Darcy makes his wishes clear to his son, that he marries a woman from their own circle, and Darcy tries to be a dutiful son, and follow his father’s wishes, even if his heart rebels.
An unexpected courtship and proposal takes place at Pemberley, while Darcy is trying to follow his father’s wishes and court Miss Talbot, a neighbour to Pemberley. As for the courtship/proposal Elizabeth is subjected to, I will admit that I was ready to throttle Kelly for allowing Elizabeth to be put in such a situation, but thankfully happiness prevails in the end and George Darcy changes his mind and blesses his son’s decision and happiness. The ending was satisfying, and lovely and made me shed a tear or two. A lovely book! Can’t wait for more books by Kelly.
Award-winning author Kelly Miller is a native Californian and Anglophile, who made her first visit to England in 2019. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she can be found playing the piano, singing, or walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their pets.